Grá – Väsen (Black Metal)

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Let me start off with saying “Krig” is a hell of a song! Starting with some slow riffing almost Tiamat style to then have Heljarmadr come in with “jag stinker av hat” as the music stops for a few seconds gives me goosebumps. The bands third album Väsen is the best they’ve done so far, no contest. The sheer consistency, acoustic elements and great production throughout the album has upped the game for them a lot. That being said apart from “Krig” and the albums title track “Väsen” I had a hard time find a song that stands out. Along with the fact that “Gjallarhorn” is even being close to getting the skip button ready, simply put I am no fan of the electronic elements they added there, which stops the album from reaching the higher grades. However Grá has done a good job on being willing to try new things, hats off for that.

Overall you can not really find much wrong here though as the albums 40 minutes are in fact enjoyable and seasoned fans of the early waves of black metal will revel in Väsen. Personally I had higher hopes after having heard the single “Krig” before and I thought it would be an album of the year contender. The competition is fierce this year however with, in Sweden alone, Nekrokraft, Avslut, Necrophobic, Skogen and Wormlight all putting out solid albums. Väsen eventually lands on a good album grade, nothing more nothing less.

Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Domgård and Avsky
Release date: April 27th, 2018
Favorite song: Krig
Score: 3/5

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Avslut – Deceptis (Black Metal)

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Alright this review has taken me a really long time to get out, I try to stay on two maybe three months old top but I kinda of had a writer block when this initially came out. Sorry for that! Also at the first spin I said to myself “Dark Funeral in Swedish”? That was my initial thought on the first listen but given time it grew on me and they are no simple copy of the Swedish giant. The songwriting is really dark and memorable as songs like “Pestilens”, “Förlorad” and “Terra Mater” have been spinning quite often at my place. The songwriting is also what makes Avslut stick out in the end and together with Christians superb vocals that makes the lyrics justice Deceptis becomes a must-have for black metal fans this year. Overall a very complete album and I can understand why it took Avslut such a long time to get their debut album out. It shows diversity, great musicianship and especially how important it is to emphasize on strong songwriting to stand out so you don’t get labelled as a mere copy of a bigger act.

Deceptis is an album that will set Avslut on the right path right from the start. It’s consistent and really enjoyable throughout. A tad too close to Dark Funeral on some songs (but hey they are one of the best black metal bands in my book) and it will be interesting to see what they come up with next and if they can separate themselves to a greater extent to become more unique. If they do they will certainly overthrow a lot of the black kings in only a couple of years as a band.

Label: Osmose Productions
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Nazghor
Release date: February 23rd, 2018
Favorite song: Förlorad
Score: 4/5

Organectomy – Domain of the Wretched (Brutal Death Metal)

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New Zealand, a country that not only has beautiful scenery and was where my favorite movies were filmed Lord of the Rings but it’s also the home of Organectomy. The band was totally unknown to me until one day I got a single called “Beckoning the Horrors of the Depths” and since then I was hyped for their debut Domain of the Wretched. I am perfectly aware though that a good single and a good album are two completely different things so where does this leave Organectomy?

Well hell this is one sweet domain they got there. From the get-go this is kickass brutal death metal that’s everything I hoped it would be. This is the music your mother has warned you about and it reeks of filthy death metal gore. It’s heavy as hell and once the album got its claws in you it never let go. Domain of the Wretched honestly got it all going from what I want in a brutal death metal album. There are the breakdowns, got a lot of technical aspects, insane gutterals, some slam in there and heck even a couple classic filthy old school death metal riffs here and there too (like on Beckoning the Horrors of the Depths). It’s a complete package. For me this is a mix of Disentomb, Analepsy and Bloodbath getting mixed in a blender to produce this retched filth, and it’s glorious. Actually it’s not just those band getting put in a blender, so is your brain as this will leave it in a muss from all the brutality. It may not be as heavy as Pathology, it may not be as technial as Defeated Sanity or whatever but they use all the elements I enjoy and perfected the mix with just the right amount of each part.

It’s been some time now since I had so much fun with a brutal death metal album. Domain of the Wretched does just about everything right on their debut and I am glad it wasn’t just the single I heard before being good, it’s the whole album. Anything from Sanctum of Deceit, Carnal Bloodlust to the epic, closing in on eight minute long, instrumental track Cascading into Despair (how many BDM songs you heard being that long before?) with an acoustic intro are of high quality. The best brutal death metal album I’ve heard all year which uses all the tools available.

Label: Unique Leader Records
For fans of: Disentomb and Rendered Helpless
Release date: April 6th, 2018
Favorite song: Beckoning the Horrors of the Depths
Score: 4/5

Abolishment of Flesh – The Inhuman Condition (Death Metal)

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A new challenger has entered the death metal stage and they are looking for the abolishment of flesh. Hailing from Texas, USA, the band was founded in 2006 but under the name Abolishment. The debut came out 2008 and was named Abolishment of Flesh which later on became the bands new name after numerous member changes. Meaning even though this is Abolishment of Flesh debut album the foundations were there already in 2006. Nowadays the band consists of two members, Ramon Cazares on guitar/vocals (while recording drums and bass as well) and Izaak Chaves on guitar.

Alright this album is one I find very strange to review. Want to know why? It’s due to the fact it is very inconsistent. A reason for this is that they are a bit all over the place and with various results. Abolishment of Flesh showcase a wide range of different styles be it technical, brutal, melodic and classic death metal, which is good however I can’t help to think some of these tracks are somewhat of a snooze fest. They can go from an absolute killer track to one I just want to press skip on. The vocals is one of the things that does that to me. I say keep the brutal growling, let go of the screeching vocals as when that comes in it kills some songs for me as it feels out of place. In “Inhuman Anatomy” it works fine but on the follow-up “Lack of Emotions” I would much rather they’d left it out and the song overall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s the same way when listening to Cattle Decapitation though, the vocal style doesn’t always work for me and I am really picky when death metal switches style like that. Which is a big shame because when Abolishment of Flesh get it all going they are incredible and provides some of the best extreme metal I’ve heard all year.

You have your classic Suffocation sounding tracks like “Morbid Imagery” that provides solid death to the masses, your massive guitar solos with some Dying Fetus vibes on “Servitude of Endless Suffering”. Then you got my personal favorite “Slaves of Animosity” which is simply a monster of a song that’s doing a great job showcasing the bands melodic and technical side, yet keeping it brutal. Almost a bit like older In Flames, which is probably why I really enjoy it. Tracks like those proves the band got diversity, can play both polished melodeath and the more extreme kind with ease when it works which alone keeps the score on a good level. I just hoped the album was more consistent as the duo are definitely talented musicians that can produce some pummeling headbang crazy material. All in all this is a debut album and it sure got me interested in the band. I will follow the band closely, looking forward to hear what they come up with next. Who knows this might just be the first stepping stone into greatness?

Label: Unholy Anarchy Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation
Release date: April 20th, 2018
Favorite song: Slaves of Animosity
Score: 3/5

Mors Subita – Into the Pitch Black (Melodic Death Metal)

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Mors Subita have been around for awhile. Being one of Finland’s prime melodic death metal bands who is probably often overlooked in the shadows of Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and the likes. The creator Mika Lammassaari is one of many guitar Gods from the country of thousand lakes as he is also features in Eternal Tears of Sorrow and Wolfheart. Into the Pitch Black is the bands third full-length since the formation in 1999.

Let me be honest and saying I wasn’t too keen on this album. Sure it has its moments with “I, God” and “Into the Pitch Black” having some killer riffs that keeps the aggressive modern melodic death metal spirit going. “As Humanity Weeps” brings me back to the days I listened to Threat Signal which was actually kinda fun as I’d almost forgot about that band. Overall though I find the album lacking in some key areas like songwriting, it’s a tad too repetitive and boring which loses my attention in the end. Which might just be me having grown out of this type of melodeath as I used to devour this kind of music ten years ago. Heard this many times before but done better in all honesty. I can’t help to think with an lineup consisting of members from Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Wolfheart and Thyrane this could be so much better.

I am sure many melodeath fans will have a good time with Into the Pitch Black and fans of Mors Subita gets more of the same music they’ve done in the past. Personally this isn’t really up my alley though and it feels a few years too late to be on my radar. It does leave me with a couple of good songs and mixed feelings once I’ve done my journey into the pitch black. A decent album that I feel could be better but one that a younger me might have appreciated a lot more. Sometimes it just doesn’t click like you’d hoped.

Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: Threat Signal and Deals Death
Release date: April 6th, 2018
Favorite song: I, God
Score: 2.5/5

Wormlight – Wrath of the Wilds (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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Lets get straight to it. Wormlight plays melodic black and death metal the way it has been played for years. Nothing wrong with this at all! Not as memorable as the releases from Necrophobic, Avslut and Nekrokraft have been to me but Wrath of the Wilds is certainly a good album that I enjoyed. It’s 90’s melodic black/death metal worship the Swedish way and I get some Naglfar, Dissection and Unanimated vibes for sure. Seeing as we won’t hear any new material from those bands any time soon (or ever) I say this is a perfectly good album to get your fill! There is no need to reinvent the wheel and Wrath of the Wilds is not only a good debut album, it is also a big step forward from the band since their EP Bloodfields came out in 2015.

The mid-range death growls together with the energetic hellfire the band unleashes is enough to make fans of melodic black metal be pleased with this release. There isn’t really something to point out as bad on this album and the 55 minutes go past with a feeling of satisfaction. However if you do put Wormlight against previously named bands and the new releases from for example Necrophobic then it lacks that extra punch to become an album I want to revisit instead of those. Either way I know a lot of you are like me and can not get enough quality black metal and Wrath of the Wilds certainly does fall into that category. If you only want to try out a couple of tracks it should be “Vittramark” with its icy atmosphere, piano outro (which they do use on several occasions though) and overall a great sounding song. That song along with “Invocation (intro)” leading to “Feast of the Mountain Kin” is a perfect example how to finish an album on a high note.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Unanimated and Necrophobic
Release date: April 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Feast of the Mountain King
Score: 3.5/5

Kosmogyr – Eviternity (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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What an interesting duo there is in atmospheric black metal band Kosmogyr. The two members Xander Cheng and Ivan Belic are from China and Czech Republic respectively creating an international band that’s really crossing borders. Eviternity is the duos debut album and it sure packs a punch.

The album is atmospheric black to its core with Ivan’s vocals giving it that black second wave kind of feeling to it. It’s melancholic beautiful music that’s yet made with a destructive force in mind. While listening I get hints of Emperor just as much as I do with bands like Grift, Uada and Panphage during the album. The change of pace and use of different instruments such as violins throughout the album are well placed and it’s really interesting to know that a duo so far away from each other can work so well together on a debut album. Eviternity also offers great song-writing all around which is a good reason on why I will probably return to it more than once this year, it’s got good replay value and leaves its mark.

There hasn’t been too many atmospheric black metal albums coming my way this year compared to last year but when they do they’ve been on good quality. Kosmogyr delivers a solid debut that’s worth any atmospheric black metal fans time and one they can build on for future releases.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Panphage and Uada
Release date: March 9th, 2018
Favorite song: Frailty
Score: 3/5